How Much Is He Worth To You?

I heard a sermon recently that really made me think about something. The message was from Mark Chapter 14 about the woman who broke the alabaster vial of very expensive perfume, and poured it on Jesus' head. Some of the people in the room became indignant remarking to one another, "'Why has this perfume been wasted? For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.' And they were scolding her." (Mark 14:4-5) Jesus told the complainers to leave her alone; that she was doing something good for Him! "For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me. She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her." (Mark 14:6-9)

This event happened just before Jesus was arrested and crucified. In order to not leave Him on the cross, due to the approaching Sabbath, He was taken down and laid in a borrowed tomb temporarily. The plan was to anoint His body after the Sabbath. However Jesus rose from the dead very early on the first day of the week (the day after the Sabbath). Some of the women came to the tomb with anointing oil and spices and He wasn't there! No problem. The woman with the alabaster vial of very expensive perfume had already anointed Him. This was amazing and shows us that God's plan will be accomplished. He was anointed, beforehand, for His burial because He wouldn't be around to be anointed as a dead person!

Something else about this event amazes me. It's not clear how or where this woman got the perfume, but she had it. If the disciples were correct it was worth a year's salary. I'm sure to anyone in that day, this was a very large amount of money. Can you imagine spending a whole year's pay on a bottle of perfume?

One thing we do know is that this woman considered something else more valuable than the expensive perfume; what Jesus had done for her. Anointing Jesus (with this perfume) was exceedingly more valuable that whatever the cost of it might have been. Anointing Jesus was much more valuable than the money she could have received from selling it. Anointing Him was even more valuable than selling the perfume and giving the money to the poor. Her action was based on what Jesus had personally done for her, and nothing could ever be more valuable that an opportunity for her to show her deep appreciation.

I've heard this called extravagant worship many times, and I believe it. The woman was criticized for her actions, but the criticism was of no value to her. She could take it. Anointing Jesus was the most valuable thing to her. NOTHING else mattered to her.

What an example for you and me. How valuable is Jesus to you? Better asked, how valuable is what He has done for you? Is it so valuable that nothing else matters? Is it so valuable that what people say doesn't matter? How about what you think they might think? Oh that we would fall so in love with Jesus, that literally nothing else would matter! And like this woman, we would pour out ALL of our love and worship...on Jesus alone, no matter what the cost. This is truly extravagant worship!

Making A Place For Him

What does it mean to make a place for Him? Let me start by saying that the most significant reason for God's people gathering together is to meet with Jesus. Certainly, fellowshiping with one another is significant. Feeding on God's Word is significant. Praying together is very significant. But if Holy Spirit is not there, everything else becomes incredibly less spiritually significant. Unfortunately in many church gatherings today, He is not there. Why? Because there is no place prepared for Him.

The music is polished. The singers are talented and proficiently prepared. The lights are bright and moving. The preacher is dynamic and charismatic (in personality). The sound is acoustically balanced. From parking lot attendants to the ushers, everything is perfectly in place. But one thing is missing...Him!

I can already hear someone saying, "Yes, but the Bible says, "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." (Matthew 18:20) This brings up a crucial question: Are you genuinely gathered together in His name? If 2 or 3 (or more) truly gather in Jesus' name, they've gathered to make a place for His presence! The reason, to meet with Him. Any time we gather for worship, the basis for it ALL must be to meet with Him.

Jesus has given us Holy Spirit, the presence of God. Listen to what Jesus said about Him. "He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you." (John 16:14-15) If our gatherings are void of Holy Spirit we miss out on what the Father and Jesus have for us.

So how do we avoid the void? We make a place for Him. The truth is, Holy Spirit deeply desires to be the sole basis for our gatherings. He is God's Spirit, and He loves us with the Father's love. He is the Spirit of Jesus, the very one who came and broke the power of sin over us by sacrificing His own life for us. In addition Jesus, knowing He would return to the Father emphatically stated "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." (John 14:18) He comes to us through the presence of Holy Spirit, who eagerly desires to meet with us individually and corporately. However, if our gatherings are not planned around a deep desire and a definite effort to meet with Him, He won't be there. As a matter of fact, without a deep desire and a definite effort to meet with Him, our gathering will be engineered to cater to man, and not Him.

There is nothing evil about making the effort to be excellent in the presentation of our worship. We should always want to do the best we possibly can. However, our efforts alone won't change someone from the inside out. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit can and will! We must be aware of the fact that we can draw crowds without Holy Spirit's help. But folks won't be changed. Our services must present a life-changing environment. Only Holy Spirit can change lives by meeting with us. We must make a place for Him.

How do we make a place for Him? First we must understand that we have a vital part in this. Holy Spirit comes when and where He is welcomed. He is drawn to people who are hungry and thirsty for His presence. This starts in personal worship. We all must make the time and the place for His presence in our own lives. Can you imagine how our services would go if the majority of the folks who show up had already been in His presence in deliberate preparation to welcome His presence corporately in the gathering? He eagerly desires to be with those who desire to be with Him.

How many times have you heard, "Lord, please anoint our worship." If you are anointed, the worship will be anointed. That's our important part.

I wonder how many Praise & Worship teams actually spend time worshiping as a group, to make a place for Him? Maybe you do, but many don't. Certainly we gather in a circle and ask God to bless our service. But I'm talking about entering into His presence together, as a worship team. You cannot lead folks where you haven't been. No matter how long your worship practice is...you need to spend at least half of that time worshiping as a team - preparing a place for Him in your midst. God doesn't only anoint the "official" gathering; He anoints anyone and anything offered to Him from hearts desiring to meet with Him! Many folks are so busy now that they only meet before the services on Sunday to practice. If that's you, you need to change that. Make it a requirement to meet at least one night in the week to practice the music and vocals, and to spend time as a team worshiping. If you're too busy for that, your too busy for His presence in your gatherings. I'll have to say, some of the most powerful times I have spent in His presence were when we were worshiping Him as a team - during practice. 

Some services are designed to make it most convenient for the people. In and out in a short time. Short praise and worship as to not tire out the people. Everything is designed for the comfort of the people, but not for the presence of God. I think it's time that some folks think seriously about changing this! The times we live in are the darkest yet. However, the power of His presence will permeate any degree of darkness. We need His presence to bring the fire back into our services in the midst of a sinful generation. How desperately folks need the light of His presence; the light of His love.

I am not anyway trying to be critical or judgmental. The truth is, many services are great, impressive presentations. But there is no fire of His presence on the service. Why? Because He's not there. Why is that? Because a place for Him has not been prepared in the midst of His people. I can promise you (I know I say that a lot), if you commit to make a place for Him in your midst, He will come. And He will bring the fire, and lives will be changed!

Not Every Believer Is A Follower

I am really into learning and confessing the Word of God. The way to apply God's powerful Word to your life is to learn it and confess it. Why would one want to apply the Word of God to their life? Because the Word works. I really wish more believers would embrace this. This is one of the keys to becoming a follower of Jesus Christ. 

The truth is, not every believer is a follower of Christ. A follower of Jesus is what the Bible calls a disciple. A disciple is a person who learns and applies the Word to their life in prayer and in daily confession. They say what Jesus said. They pray the way Jesus prayed. As a result, they do what Jesus did! "So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, 'If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (John 8: 31 - 32) Certainly it is God's truth that sets us free. But you won't know God's truth (and be free) until you continue in the Word of God as Jesus said. Only followers of Jesus (disciples) are truly free to be continuously and powerfully used of God.

Take the 12 disciples. Jesus poured His life and His teaching into these guys for 3 and a half years. Not only that, they sat willingly at His feet, feeding on His Word for the entire duration of His ministry. He demonstrated the Word to and for them. He even authorized them to go out and apply what they learned, before He returned to the right hand of the Father. You are a disciple only if you continue in His Word. Then you will know the very truth that frees you to do the "greater works" He said you would do. (See John 14: 12)

God didn't send Jesus to the earth just to save you so you would go to heaven. If that were the case He would have arranged it so that whenever one accepts Jesus, they would just drop dead and go to heaven. Listen to this very carefully. The Gospel is not based just on the point at which we die, but also on the point at which we come to life as new creatures in Christ Jesus! From the point we begin to live in Christ it must be emphasized that we begin, and continue in His Word. Then we learn the truth (by experiment), and the truth sets us free.

If you are a disciple (follower) of Jesus, you are surely saved, and your eternal destination has been settled and secured. But you are also qualified and authorized to be a world-changer. Jesus returned to the Father. He sent forth the Holy Spirit to enable His disciples to carry on the same ministry He started when He was here.

God sent Jesus to save you so that you would make a difference on this earth...before you leave (just as He did.) Heaven is a very significant and wonderful part of the deal. Yes, I know that eternity is way longer than our time on this planet. However, the life you live on this planet will extremely affect the eternity you will spend in heaven. And not only that, but the life you live for Jesus (here) will extremely affect the lives of others who also reside on the planet!

Are you ready to be a world-changer? Be a disciple of Jesus. Be a follower of Jesus. Become a student and a devourer of His Word. Through His Word, get to know the truth. Let Him make you free to change the world you live in! Don't just be a believer...be a follower of Jesus.

The Work of the Holy Spirit

I've been doing much study on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. As a matter of fact, I've been researching a bunch about the Holy Spirit in general. As you may know, He is the 3rd person of the Trinity (as we say). The Trinity is made up of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But just because He is mentioned 3rd much of the time does not mean He is any less significant than the first two!

Jesus couldn't come to the earth without the work of the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 1:18 the Scripture says, "before they (Joseph and Mary) came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit." God told Joseph, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit." (Verse 20) The babe inside of Mary, who was still a virgin, was the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was literally born of the Spirit, with absolutely no sin nature.

In order to save humanity, Jesus had to become human. And the only way for Jesus to be the spotless sacrifice for our sins was to be born of the Spirit, not sinful flesh. Jesus was a human being, born of the Spirit.

And for Jesus to become human, He also had to empty Himself, take on the form of a bond servant, and be made (in Mary's womb) in the likeness of humanity (anthrōpos). As a man, He humbled Himself by being obedient to the point of dying on the cross for ALL of humanity.

The Holy Spirit was responsible for bringing Jesus to the earth, born of the Spirit. He was also responsible for empowering Jesus to begin and complete His supernatural ministry on the earth. Without the enduement of power from on high (He received after being baptized by John in the Jordan River), He could not have carried out His ministry. "Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened,  and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, "You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased." (Luke 3: 21 - 22) From that point Jesus was led by the Spirit, impelled by the Spirit, and returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that Jesus performed one sign, wonder, or miracle until after He had been empowered by the Holy Spirit from on high.

There is no greater example than our Lord, Jesus Christ! He was born of the Spirit. Now we must be born again (by the same Spirit). He was filled with the Holy Spirit for the purpose of ministry. We who are now born again of the Spirit must also be filled with, or baptized in the Spirit for the purpose of ministry! Jesus Himself said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father." Jesus meant He would go to the Father and send forth the Promise of the Father; the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Instead of being in one place and one time, Jesus now works in and through myriads, through the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit.

I encourage you to seek out the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Let Jesus empower you with the same Spirit and power that He received. Are you ready to change your world? Ask, and you will receive!

Will You Commit To Encouraging Words?

Today is a great day to commit to building up others! Even on social media, commit to posting words of encouragement. If you have a heart to reach people for Jesus, you will only reach them by demonstrating your love for them...whether you agree with them or not. We can never demonstrate our love for others with negative, critical words. Arguing and debating hardly ever results in someone changing their thinking. Most of the time it causes folks to dig in deeper to their personal opinions. Jesus even went as far as to say, "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6: 27,28)

Situations will change when you speak encouraging words (God's Word's) to and over folks! Will you make that commitment with me?

"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." (Philippians 2 : 3,4)

There Is Only One Answer For America!

And the answer is.......revival. Yes it is. We can politic, parade, boycott, petition, lobby, legislate, walk-out, blackball, blacklist, broadcast, post, and tweet until the cows come home. The truth is, things will continue to get worse. There is only ONE answer for the United States of America. Spiritual revival. America needs a spiritual awakening, beginning FIRST with those who call themselves Christians!

"If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. "Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place." (2 Chronicles 7: 13 - 15)

Yes, this passage has been quoted, preached, broadcast, and plastered all over the media for years...so much that it has become a cliche! It seems to be the pat answer to the troubles of America. But the problem is, we're not doing what it says! Many may be familiar with this passage but many more are not adhering to it.

First of all, why would God Himself ever "shut up the heavens" so that there is no more spiritual rain falling on America? Or why would God ever command spiritual locust and spiritual pestilence to devour our land? For the same reason He did the same for Israel...we've pushed Him away! The difference between then and now is the covenant we live under. Under the Old Covenant God told His people "Do this or else?" The consequences were very severe. Now, under the New Covenant God gives us the choice. If we pursue Him, we get Him, and His blessings. If we choose to distance ourselves from Him...we're on our own, and we become open season for the enemy. This is where America is today. The enemy has been given free reign in our land. He is devouring us from the inside out!

This Scripture passage addresses "My people" twice, and those called by "My name" once. We're under a New Covenant now. This means that if you call yourself a follower of Jesus, you are being directly addressed by the Spirit of God.

His instructions are: 1.) Humble yourself to prayer. A lack of fervent prayer is pure pride. When you don't pray, your heart is saying, "I don't really need God. My life is not uncomfortable enough for me to cry out to God." This is pride. A humble heart not only acknowledges the need for Jesus, it pursues Jesus constantly. Our most fervent prayer should be "Jesus, change my heart, melt my heart, and turn  my heart of stone into a heart of flesh again." We can pray for America, but America will not change until you and I are changed by Him.

2.) We must seek His face. We're pretty good at seeking His hand, especially when we have a need. But to seek His face is to seek Him simply to be changed by Him. This process may sound simple, but it must be done with intense hunger. The result is life-changing. Think about this. When you desperately pursue the Creator of the universe, you find Him. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded." (James 4: 8) I love the order of the above verse. We first draw near to Him, and He draws near to us. Only then (in His incredible presence) will He cleanse us and purify our hearts! A person is double-minded to think we must clean up and purify our hearts before we can draw near to Him.

3.) We must turn from our wickedness. I don't know about you, but the fact that I regard wickedness in my heart prompts me to run to Him, where I find grace and mercy. The most effective way to turn from wickedness is to run to Him...whether we feel like it or not. There is always healing, deliverance, and forgiveness in His presence. This is how we are changed. This is revival.

The result is that He hears from heaven. Of course He does, because He has placed heaven in us. The place to appropriate the forgiveness Jesus already provided for you through the cross is in His very presence, as you draw near to Him and seek His face. This is revival. This is what changes us. But only when you and I are changed, will America change.

And now the best part, as far as I am concerned. I believe things will eventually get better; at least in the near future. Why? Because God is raising up people who understand the need for revival. They understand the times they live in. They have spiritual perception and are sensitive to God's timeline. They also understand the power of repentance. They will be pliable in the hands of Holy Spirit. They are thirsty to see God's Word declared...with signs, wonders, and miracles following. They will be of all ages...old and young. They are not engrossed in the American dream. But they do dream of the greatest last days revival in the land of America. They are preparing their children (and their grandchildren) to be managers of this greatest outpouring of His Spirit before Jesus returns.

Are you one of them? If so, your heart is stirring and your spirit is leaping! You've already been praying. You already know the answer for America is not government; it is the desperate need for spiritual awaking in our land. Some of you are being stirred (right now) to pray. Some of you have already been praying. Let me encourage you. It's coming! It's starting with God's people first. Your commitment to pray has already changed your heart. You will be instrumental in changing other's lives as you pray and experience revival in your own life!

And finally, this greatest outpouring of God's Spirit on the human race will produce the greatest end time harvest of all times. I certainly want to be a part of this. I know you do too!

This post has been a bit longer than normal. But I pray it has also been encouraging to those who have ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart to perceive what God is doing right now.

How Much Is Your Life Impacting The World?

What kind of an impact does your life have on people? I'm not asking how many people you have led to Jesus. But I am asking, how is your life impacting other people for Jesus? The only way any of us followers of Jesus can impact those around us is that we live our lives for Jesus. Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." (John 15: 5) When we bear much fruit, we impact others. But only through abiding in Jesus can we bear much fruit, and thus impact others. It's when we live more for the world that we have no Godly impact on others.

I remember years ago when I was first stationed in Germany. I had to go over without the family and live in the barracks - until I found an apartment for the family to live. It took 2 months to find, secure, and get orders cut to bring my family to Germany. One night, while I was still in the barracks, I was in the laundry room doing (you guessed it) laundry. I always took my Bible and read it while I was waiting on the clothes to finish. This particular night as I was reading, another Air Force G.I. happened to walk through. He noticed I was reading my Bible. He had just gotten into some legal trouble due to getting pretty drunk a few weeks earlier. He was facing a very serious charge. Because he saw me reading my Bible, he felt I had a connection with God! He asked if he could talk to me. He poured his heart out to me and later...Jesus! He was radically saved! The change in this young man's life was phenomenal. We were not even acquainted before that night.

I was just studying my Bible! But to this desperate young man, I represented hope. A couple of days later, his coworker came to me and wanted to receive Jesus. All I did was study my Bible in public! I have to say, I was very serious about studying God's Word...even in public!

According to John 15: 5, we bear fruit (make an impact) when we abide in Jesus. To abide is to dwell. To dwell is to live (totally exist in). You cannot "visit" Jesus every now and then and expect to make an impact on people. If you know more about your favorite sports team, or the latest Hollywood flick, than you do God's Word, you're not making an impact on someone else's life for Jesus. Listen to something else Jesus said. "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5: 16)

Just a few years ago I was working in retail with a nationally known retailer. As I was taking a break for lunch one day, I paused to pray over my lunch. "Oh how profoundly spiritual!" you may say. But it is something I do in public or privately. I am truly grateful for ALL God provides for me and my family. At least 2 years later one of my co-workers contacted me on social media (after she had long left the business and the area) and thanked me for making it clear that day that I loved Jesus. She said that sparked a desire in her to return to her first love with Jesus. She is now serving Him faithfully and powerfully!

I don't consider myself a powerful Evangelist that goes around winning thousands to Jesus. But I do understand that we must impact the lives around us with the kingdom of Jesus. Living out loud for Jesus opens so many doors to demonstrate His love, and simply be obedient to Him. It's amazing what He will do when we live for Him. Just this week driving with a ride-share company I had the opportunity to pray for a toddler who had been having an asthma attack. I took his Mom to take him out of daycare early because of the attack. When she put him in the car he must have sneezed 250 times on the short ride back to his home. Holy Spirit spoke to me and said "Pray for this little toddler." So when we arrived back at their home I asked the Mom if I could pray for the little boy. She said "Of course!" I believe Jesus healed the little boy. I just wanted to make an impact. By the way, I hadn't met either of them before that day.

In our country and culture it's still very easy to live for Jesus. As bad as we think things are right now, we can make a tremendous impact on people who need God's touch! Our greatest challenge is that we may feel a bit embarrassed, or someone will be offended by us. Thank God, we won't be thrown in jail for making an impact!

People are hurting out in the world today. They need the love of Jesus. They need the supernatural touch of His Spirit. They need Christians to be bold in their walk with Jesus. You are the connection for them. You are the one between them and the life-changing love of Jesus. You could be the answer for someone today, tomorrow, or the day after. Live for Jesus!

Stop living for the world! Right now, I am talking to someone who is being stirred by this post! But perhaps you're afraid to step out boldly for Jesus. Ask Him to empower you with His Holy Spirit. Jesus said, "but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Acts 1: 8) Notice Jesus didn't say "you shall witness for me both in Jerusalem..." He said "...you shall BE my witnesses..." When the Holy Spirit empowers you, you become His witness. You exist as His witness. What does one who exists as a witness do? They witness! How does one witness? You live for Jesus...24X7! You look and listen for opportunities to BE that witness He has made you to be.

Please join with me in standing up, especially as the darkness continues to grow in our land. The Apostle Paul says, "Where sin abounds, grace abounds even more!" So no matter how dark it gets, the light of Jesus in you will always be much, much brighter; and it will always dispel the darkness!

Where Are The Believers With Courage?

Remember the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz? He lacked courage. At least he knew that he needed courage, and eventually got it. So from the application of the word "cowardly" here we can see that its exact opposite is the word "courageous".

Cowardly means weakly or basely fearful in the presence of danger. It also refers to a lack of courage or self-confidence. On the other hand the word Courageous means exactly the opposite. Courageous means: Possessing or characterized by courage. Courage (from which we get courageous) is the quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear. One who has courage, and therefore courageous, is one who is brave.

Today we live in a world that honors those who stand up against righteousness. Today's world considers brave anyone who stands for their personal convictions, especially if they stand for what God considers sin. And in a perverted sense, they are brave to boldly stand against God and His Word. "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5: 20)

One of the greatest demonstrations of courage in the Bible came from David, the shepherd boy. He stood up to the 9-foot giant Goliath, and soundly defeated him. There was no contest. God was with David. There was a reason God was with David; David had courage. Courage for the believer recognizes and applies the power of God in all circumstances. David prevailed because he knew God and His power. This is courage. When you don't know God well enough to know His power and provision, you will lack the courage to face your giants.

How else can we know David had courage? By listening to his conversation. David was sent by his father to bring supplies to his brothers on the battle-front. As he arrived he heard Goliath taunting Israel and her armies. Every single soldier (including King Saul) was paralyzed by fear of this overgrown Philistine. They simply didn't know what to do. As David heard his taunting, it didn't scare him, it really, really rubbed him the wrong way. He said, "For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?" (1 Samuel 17: 26b) There was absolutely no fear in David's voice, nor his comments. "Who does this dude think he is? He's messing with the armies of the Living God!" (Steve's paraphrase.)

Let me tell you what the church today needs more of. Courage! Folks who claim to have sold out to Jesus need to stand up against the evils of our day. The church as a whole has become powerless to stand against these evils. The lack of courage produces the lack of power. It's much easier to blend in and not make waves. It's easier to avoid the blackball. But the problem is evil keeps advancing, because fear has paralyzed the righteous. We must stop this! It's time for you to stand up my friend...stand up for what the Bible (not society) says is right. It's time to stand against the screaming, but shallow threats of the enemy. You don't have to be paralyzed. You don't have to be powerless. The decision is yours. Paul asked a rhetorical question that everyone knows the answer to: "If God is for us, who is against us?" (Romans 8: 31)

If you are irritated by the lies and the boastful claims of the enemy, God is doing something in your heart. He's calling you to take a stand, regardless of the opposition. Like David, get to know Jesus to the point you know His power in and through you. Commit to live for Him, and do whatever He calls on you to do. God moves mightily through such people!


His Worth Demands Our Praise

God is good. God is magnificent. He hears and answers our prayer. God became flesh and lived among mankind in order to sacrifice Himself (as one of us) for our sins. How incredible is that! Add to that His beauty, His radiating glory, His greatness, and His awesomeness! Yes, He is good. He is the source of good. He is also infinitely big. Nothing is impossible for God. Nothing is too difficult for Him to accomplish. He deserves ALL of your praise and ALL of my praise. He deserves MORE praise and worship than you and I are capable of giving Him. He is good and He is truly worthy.

I will spend eternity declaring the goodness of our God. He is good! God is so good...there is truthfully never a time in which we cannot give Him praise. He is just too good for you and me to live even short periods of time in which we don't give Him praise.

If you are like me, through any given day your moods change. Yes, we all know this and experience this. My feelings can change due to my physiological state (at any given moment). For instance, I tend to be happier when I am not hungry. I get somewhat happier if I can at least anticipate a good meal in the near future. (Knowing that I truly will not starve to death.) Circumstances also tend to contribute to my feelings. If all is going well, and I'm having a Zippity Doo Dah moment, I feel good. But if life begins to challenge me through circumstances, physical feelings, or people, I tend to NOT feel as good, thus affecting my mood.

Quite honestly, the better I feel, the easier it is for me to praise and worship God. When life is good, praise and worship is easy. When life is fair it is very easy to give God all the credit. But it gets a little more difficult when life is not as easy. Some days can be more challenging than others. Some seasons are more challenging than others.

When we are challenged and life is more difficult we must always ask ourselves this question (just to keep our focus). "Has God changed?" No! He is still the Creator and Ruler of our universe. He is still (and will always be) worthy of ALL praise, worship, and glory! The writer of Hebrews says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." He never changes! He is always the same. No matter how I feel, He is still worthy of ALL the praise!

The book of Acts, Chapter 16 tells of an incredible experience with praise and worship. Paul and Silas had been thrown into the inner prison for preaching about Jesus. The inner prison was the deepest, darkest, filthiest part of the prison. It was where the waste from all the cells above flowed to. It was a very, very challenging situation to say the least. In the middle of these circumstances the Bible says, "...about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were unfastened." Paul and Silas were singing praise to God in the worst of circumstances! How could they possibly do this? They were praising God according to His worth, not their circumstances. God never changed. His value never lessened due to their being in the filthiest of dungeons. He was still MOST worthy to receive ALL their praise and worship!

As they focused on God, He began to change their circumstances; and the circumstances of every other prisoner in the place! Everyone's cell doors were opened and everyone's chains fell off! What an encouraging example of giving God what is due Him no matter what our circumstances are.

God will be God in your life and mine when we give Him credit for who He is. It is when we focus on our circumstances alone that we tie the hands of our incredible God.

No matter what your circumstances are...good or bad, our God is incredible and ALWAYS worthy of ALL of our praise and worship. So praise Him, worship Him for who and what He is, not for how you feel, or what you are experiencing. God will move mightily in your life. Remember, when we praise Him for what and who He is, what and who He is will manifest in your life!

Unity Is Your Choice!

There is incredible power in unity. When 2 or more folks can agree on any issue, they can press through any opposition to their oneness on that particular issue. And when enough people agree on a particular issue, it becomes a mind-set, even a strong-hold. This can be positive (Godly), or negative (evil).

Many sports teams are loaded with great talent. But they don't become potential champions until the majority buys-in to the belief they can actually win any game or match. This has everything to do with good coaching. I remember several years ago a new coach came to my favorite college football team. He kept saying in his arrival speech, we all have to buy-in to the truth that we can and will win most of our games. His greatest task was convincing a team that had two years of mostly losses that they can win any game. It took just a little bit of time, but at the end of his very first year they played again in a bowl game. In this case unity brought success.

Another good example of unity is found in Genesis 11. This is an example of unity working in a negative way. After the flood had destroyed the earth, people began to multiply again. They multiplied and moved east to the land of Shinar. Since they all spoke the same language they planned to build for themselves a city (Babel) whose tower would reach into heaven. God said something interesting about the people of Babel. "The LORD said, "Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them." (Genesis 11: 6) Because of their unity, God referred to them as "one people".

God came down and confused their language in order to stop this attempt. The reason of course, was so different nations would be formed, causing humanity to spread out over all the earth. The heart of God's plan to abate their oneness was confusion. Confusion is just one way to destroy unity. In this case, it is obvious that Babel's plan was not God's plan. So in view of the bigger picture, God had to intervene.

But notice that God said, "...nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them." He said that people in unity can perform the impossible, even in a negative sense. So we see in this example from Genesis 11 that unity is a powerful force!

The most powerful of any type of unity exists among those who follow after Christ. This type of unity invokes the supernatural. Mountains move! Roadways are made. Plans of the enemy are thwarted. The impossible becomes possible, because the natural becomes supernatural. Jesus said of unity, "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." (Matthew 18: 19-20) Unity among believers involves Jesus, the King Himself!

Many believers don't understand the power of unity. Why is this? Because Jesus is not the very center of their lives. Here is another way to put it: They are self-centered. Their personal agenda (even in serving God) transcends God's agenda. Unity cannot be found in self-centeredness. Self-centeredness is a killer of unity. "It's my way or the highway!" Anything that destroys unity is divisive.

Jesus Himself said, "Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand." (Matthew 12: 25) Any mature Christian who has laid aside their personal agenda in lieu of God's understands this. The problem is that so many don't understand this. The ways of the world have formed their personal agendas. By being conformed to this world (instead of being transformed, see Romans 12: 1-2), believers are becoming vehemently divided by their personal political views. Never before in my life (which is a few years long) have I seen such division in our nation over politics! And even worse politics has divided the body of Christ!

Listen, listen, listen! There is a way to restore unity to the body of Christ and thus see the kingdom of God rapidly spread over all the face of the earth. The same will obliterate the enemy's existence to divide and destroy. This method will also restore unity to your family, and save your marriage. The Apostle Paul couldn't have said it better. "For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." (1 Corinthians 1: 2) Jesus is the solution to division and disunity. No one or nothing else! If you believe that Jesus Christ was crucified to destroy our sins, and I believe that Jesus Christ was crucified to destroy our sins, that is enough! We are brother and sisters, purchased by the same blood of the Lamb. When all is said and done, at the end of the age, all that will matter is...did you believe that Jesus Christ was crucified for your sins and my sins? Our religious differences won't matter. Our political differences won't matter. Our theological divisions won't matter. There is enough power in the above fact to change the world, heal our land, heal your family and see your loved ones saved! Yes it is!

There is infinite, life-changing power within the unity among those who believe in and follow after Jesus. As I mentioned early on, confusion will bring about disunity. But it works the same way on the enemy. When believers agree to walk in unity, it brings confusion to the enemy. Get in agreement with the salvation your brother and your sister walks in. Watch the enemy divide and fall as a result of it. Commit with me to make the basis of our agreement the cross of Jesus Christ! Nothing else first. Not religion, not sports, not theology, not History, and certainly not politics. Let's be determined, like Paul. The other things of this world won't matter when we stand in the presence of King Jesus.


For more info on how you can help us reach Honduras February 18 - 25 visit www.harvcel.com. All donations are secure through PayPal. Thanks!
Steve Hutto